Foundation gives $600K grant for pool, transit projects

A single grant of $600,000 will go toward three recreation and transit-related projects, including $200,000 as plans to begin renovation of Memorial Pool get underway and $400,000 toward matching funds on the Trade and Transit Centre II and neighborhoods around it.

The money comes as a result of a gift by the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, which presented the grant to city officials by way of its Williamsport Lycoming Impact Fund, according to Erin Ruhl, a spokeswoman for the foundation.

Although the word impact is used, the funds have nothing to do with gas impact fees, Ruhl noted.

Since its creation in 2002, the Foundation’s impact fund has granted $1.975 million. The fund was established to accumulate unrestricted funds for projects and programs with the potential for high community impact for the residents of Lycoming County.

“The First Community Foundation Partnership is proud to provide the necessary ‘community match’ to bring these three projects to fruition,” said Jennifer D. Wilson, foundation president.

The grants will help fund three projects that are part of the city’s “Connect Williamsport” plan.

A match of $250,000 will assist the city as it plans for and builds the Trade and Transit Centre II and seeks to secure $2.5 million in federal and state funds for site work and construction of the transit facility at West Third and Laurel streets.

A $150,000 match will help the city secure $1.5 million in federal and state funding for connectivity and transportation enhancements to the area surrounding the centre, said William E. Nichols Jr., director of city finance.

This money, for example, will help the city secure additional money for new bus bays, parking, a pedestrian walkway and bike path access to the Susquehanna River Walk and a proposed roundabout at Hepburn Street and Via Bella, Nichols said.

“We have been given wonderful recreation and downtown economic news,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said of the grants going toward recreation and transportation and economic development. “We are so fortunate as a community to have such supportive leaders.”

City Council tonight is expected to review a contract proposal of $883,000 by Port Vue Plumbing, of McKeesport, which seeks to renovate the pool.

Council and the administration are expected to acknowledge those at the foundation who made the grant possible. The foundation’s support is geared toward improving the city’s infrastructure and strengthening the neighborhoods surrounding each project site.

Improvements at the pool and transit sites are expected to affect residents of the city, county and region.